Love Among The Daffodils

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It seemed like another ordinary Saturday. Erin Grace and Levi Markway had been dating for more than a year after meeting on Match.com. They planned to have dinner at Erin’s and then go to the movies. Levi came to Erin’s house early to start dinner and arrived while she was still at work. When she got home, she found a basket of her favorite flowers, daffodils. It was the first time Levi had given her flowers. Erin thanked him and asked what he was making for dinner. He responded crab legs — one of Erin’s favorite meals. She went to get ready for the rest of the evening and Levi followed her with his dog, Nita.

“Look at this new thing I put on Nita’s collar,” he said.

Erin looked and saw a diamond ring. Speechless, she started crying. Levi, also tearing up, pulled her in for a hug. Finally, Erin reminded Levi that he needed to get down on one knee and ask her a question.

“So he did,” Erin says, “and, of course, the answer was yes.”

Erin and Levi married on April 26, 2014, at Columbia United Church of Christ, the church Erin grew up attending.

From the beginning, Erin and Levi knew they wanted a spring wedding with daffodils. Erin is a horticulturist and loves daffodils, not only because they are cheerful signs of spring but also because multitudes of them bloom at “the home place,” where generations of Erin’s mother’s family lived. Erin grew many of the daffodils used in the wedding — including those in her bouquet — and several family members and friends also contributed daffodils from their own gardens.

Erin’s bridal gown was an ivory A-line chiffon gown with a single shoulder strap and sweetheart neckline. Diagonal pleating embellished the bodice, and a sash of wide ivory satin ribbon around her waist featured a flower on one side. A friend from church made a patch that bore the message “Levi & Erin April 26, 2014” in blue thread; Erin and her mother sewed the patch inside the hem of her dress, and Erin gave Levi a handkerchief with a matching message.

The bride wore her hair parted to the side, curled and styled in a loose updo, with a few curls framing her face. Instead of a veil, she wore an ivory fabric flower in her hair. She further accessorized with teardrop crystal earrings and with multiple pearl bracelets borrowed from her mother’s co-worker. In her bouquet, she carried double white daffodils with a hint of yellow in the center, along with double white tulips and white ranunculus.

Erin’s bridesmaids wore knee-length navy dresses in styles of their choosing, paired with gray shoes. They carried yellow daffodils with yellow ranunculus and personalized clutches, given to them by the bride.

Levi wore a dark gray suit with an ivory vest and tie and a boutonniere of white ranunculus, white daffodils and seeded eucalyptus. In his pocket, he carried the handkerchief Erin gave him, as well as a blessed rosary with black beads from nuns of the Carmelite Monastery, which was in Jefferson City until 2013 (the nuns now live in Clyde, Mo.). Erin had a matching blessed rosary with ivory beads in her clutch.

Levi’s groomsmen wore dark gray suits with navy vests and ties and boutonnieres of yellow ranunculus with seeded eucalyptus.

Inside the sanctuary, an abundance of potted daffodils mixed with arrangements of yellow and white flowers filled the ceremony with the color of sunshine. The Rev. Steve Swope, who was then the pastor at Columbia United Church of Christ led the ceremony. Alan Sims, a deacon from St. Stanislaus Church in Wardsville, Levi’s family’s home church, gave a blessing. Family members read Scripture passages and poetry. Levi and Erin exchanged traditional vows.

The reception took place at the Plaza Event Center, where the decorations reflected the couple’s love for the outdoors. Ivory tablecloths, with paisley fabric squares at the center, adorned the tables. Topping these squares were cedar rounds cut from trees at the farm where Levi’s family hunts. The tables also sported antique blue mason jars — borrowed from family — with arrangements of either yellow daffodils or forsythia branches mixed with curly willow stems. Sand-filled jar lids held votive candles. Framed engagement photos also sat on the tables.

On the head table, a row of deer antlers paid tribute to Levi’s passion for hunting.

“We did our best to incorporate things we both love into the wedding,” Erin says.

Instead of a traditional wedding cake, Erin and Levi served various specialty cheesecakes, displayed on cedar logs of various heights. Guests were served slices of plain cheesecake and supplied with various toppings, including nuts, fruit, chocolate and caramel.

Memorable moments at the reception included several great toasts and a candy toss for the little ones. Guests enjoyed a dance performance by Levi, his groomsmen, the ushers and the couple’s fathers to “I Can’t Dance” by Genesis.

Instead of a guestbook, Levi and Erin supplied a large wooden M they had built and painted and used in some of their engagement photos for guests to sign.

“Now the M, covered with signatures of family and friends, rests on our fireplace mantel in our new home,” Erin says.

Levi and Erin waited until June for their honeymoon and spent one week in the Caribbean on St. Martin Island.

Erin is the daughter of Tim and Jo Ellen Grace of Columbia. She works as a greenhouse production manager at Longfellow’s Garden Center in Centertown. Levi is the son of Jude and Mary Markway of Jefferson City. He works as a draftsman at Scruggs Lumber Co. in Jefferson City. Levi and Erin live in Jefferson City with their dogs, Ruby and Nita, in a new home they began building after returning from their honeymoon.

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